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The Sassy Sandpiper: Missing the Bad Old Days

MR Wilson | Sassy Sandpiper | TB Reporter

The Sassy Sandpiper contemplates our suddenly and drastically changed lives.

By M.R. WILSON, Columnist, Tampa Bay Reporter

If March “came in like a lion,” it was a devious lion for Pinellas County with sunny days and mild breezes. Remember? Maybe you went to church or the beach or wandered the shops or took a special someone to dinner at a cozy restaurant. Or maybe it was just lousy as usual: a traffic jam, a delayed flight, the boss asking you to work overtime. A week later that lion sprung forward with Daylight Saving Time and we faced a ruder-than-usual awakening Monday morning: The coronavirus (COVID-19) was advancing over the globe at an exponential pace. People here were getting sick. Our country was woefully unprepared for a pandemic.

A new lexicon emerged:  “social distancing,” “self-quarantine,” “flattening the curve,” “essential and non-essential businesses and workers,” “safer at home.” Somehow the masses believed there was a toilet paper shortage and started hording the Charmin’. It, along with other paper products, cleansers and hand sanitizers disappeared from store shelves. Some folks began withdrawing vast sums of money from the bank.

News is bewildering, contradictory and terrifying. Limit your exposure as you limit unnecessary everything else. Listen to medical experts, not billionaires with something to gain from unmitigated suffering. Check out this page on Facebook: Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information Center.

My emotions are teeter-tottering. I feel incredulous, angry, scared and sad to the point of tears. My son isn’t coming home from West Palm beach this weekend to celebrate his 40th birthday:  His grandparents can’t have visitors or leave their rooms in an assisted living facility; restaurants are closed. I’m grateful for my own health (so far) and that of friends and family. I trust that scientists will figure out treatments and hopefully a vaccine and maybe a cure are in the making. I worry that crazed, desperate, misinformed people will commit horrific acts. I’m counting on the best of human nature—our adaptability, innovation, compassion and cooperation—to overcome this crisis.

“Self-isolation” comes easier for introvert homebodies like me. I can marvel at pipevine flowers and humongous swallowtail butterfly caterpillars, mess around in the yard, play with the cats, walk in Raymond H. Neri Community Park (still open at this writing) and read. Sad to see Lealman’s third Little Free Library™ bearing a sign reading: “Temporarily Closed Due To Covid-19 Risk.”

I’m sorry for those like my friend Lisa who lives in hard-hit Philadelphia, suffering cabin fever and well-founded anxiety. Her life revolves around a job at Panera Bread (closed), hanging out with friends, church, bowling and a newly organized women’s softball team. All on hold or drastically curtailed.

Panic is bad for the immune system. If we can do anything, we can try to bolster those microscopic foot soldiers holding up the front line against viral attack. Adequate sleep and good nutrition are key. As World War II loomed in 1939, the British government created a motivational poster: “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

Let’s make it so.

FOUR OUTSIDE PHOTOS IN COLLAGE COURTESY OF M.R. WILSON.

MR Wilson | Sassy Sandpiper | Self-Isolation | COVID-19 | Coronavirus | Tampabay News | News Tampa

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